Frequently Asked Questions

What is T Gauge?
T Gauge is presently the world's smallest commercially-made model train scale with self-powered trains. "T" stands for "three," which is the track gauge in millimeters—that is, the rails are 3 mm apart. The scale (model ratio) is 1:450, which means it would take 450 model cars placed end-to-end to equal the length of its real-life counterpart.

From left to right: T (1:450), Z (1:220) and N (1:160) scales.
Photo courtesy of Chris Schmuck.

Who makes T Gauge?
The developer is KK Eishindo of Japan.

What kinds of T Gauge products does Eishindo make?
Eishindo makes several Japanese commuter trains, plus track with curves in four sizes, buildings, people, trees and other accessories. See Available Products for a comprehensive listing.

Does Eishindo make anything but Japanese commuter trains?
Not yet. They are planning to expand their product line in the future to include trains from other parts of the world.

How much does a train set cost?
The 103-series four-car train set costs around US$65. Train sets do not include track; a track set, with a (battery-powered) controller and accessories, is around US$75.

Where can I buy T Gauge?
There are many online shops selling T—see Dealers. Most of the shops will ship worldwide.

When was T Gauge introduced?
The story of T Gauge began one day in 2005, when Hirotsugu Hirai, a representative of KK Eishindo, wished he could build a model railway that would fit on his laptop computer. He sketched out an oval plan, and determined that a track gauge of 3 millimeters was suitable.

Two years of development finally culminated in the first practical demonstration of what he called "the zero generation" at the Tokyo Toy Fair 2006. The train could only operate on straight track, but it was enough to get the ball rolling.

By the end of 2007, under contractual obligation, a limited quantity of the first generation products were released to a mail order company, but Mr. Hirai was not satisfied with the quality (there were also delays due to lead in the paint used by the Chinese manufacturer). So, market distribution was postponed until the summer of 2008, after many improvements to the products.

The second train set, the Hankyu type 9000, was scheduled for release in the autumn of 2008, but Mr. Hirai postponed it for the sake of improving quality. The drive mechanism has been completely redesigned for improved performance. Says Mr. Hirai,

We should not be afraid of any delays if it makes [things] better, since we have to compete with ourselves.

Mr. Hirai is delighted that T Gauge is enjoying an enthusiastic following around the world. He has indicated that many new and very exciting products are being planned.

If you have a question that's not answered here, please email me.

Copyright © 2008-2012 by David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved.
Images and content from other sources are copyrighted by their respective owners and are used here by permission.

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